District court could soon see electronic processing system
April 22, 2013 at 5:01 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2013 at 11:22 p.m.
Victoria County Commissioners hope a new web-based software will make work for the judicial court system more efficient.
They approved applying for a $105,000 grant from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission on Monday for a system that will help make the district clerk's office paperless.
County Administrative Services Director Joyce Dean said if the grant goes through, the online system, called Fair Indigent Defense Online, will benefit the entire court system.
"The goal is to provide a web-based system for the determination and processing of indigent representation," Dean said.
The program was originally developed for Bell County and allows for a completely web-based, electronic processing system, she said.
There are portals for the judges, clerks, county auditor and attorneys to access the information they need for each case.
The county would be responsible for a 20 percent match of $21,000.
County Judge Don Pozzi said indigent defense has been a sore subject among the commissioners court.
He said the county absorbs more than $600,000 annually on court-appointed attorneys.
"That's one reason we hired a pretrial coordinator - to reduce some of the costs," Pozzi said. "Twenty-one thousand is a small investment when you look at the big picture."
The county hired Nora Brosig Kucera as its first indigent coordinator.
"This will eliminate all of that manual labor that has to be done," Kucera said.
Commissioner Kevin Janak said he supported the application.
"Any tool that would help you to do your job better is a win-win," he said.